The ghost of Fernando Poe Jr., or FPJ for short, was reportedly seen by his grave at the Manila North Cemetery on Tuesday, October 27, 2009. The ‘apparition’ witness asks why FPJ chose to show himself to her. The incident seems to be the first time the man deprived of the 2004 presidential victory “Hello Garci” style made himself visible by his tomb. Could it be that because we are only months away from another opportunity of presidential reckoning, FPJ wants the people to remember? Is Poe Jr., called by many as the genuine 14th President of the Philippines, asking the Filipinos not to vote for all those who conspired to cheat him, hid the real numbers and installed instead the “Hello Garci ” perpetrator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? Is FPJ asking the people not to vote the parties that operated at either the military/Comelec or congressional canvassing level–Lakas-Kampi and the Liberal Party (LP) ?
Whether or not the apparition is genuine, or that the “ghost” is really that of FPJ or, for that matter, whether ghosts or spirits of dead people are real, Filipinos should well learn from the lessons of the 2004 presidential elections and proclamation fraud. If the people of the Southeast Asian islands with a blatantly colonial name, i.e., the Philippines, are to emerge not necessarily as one and united, but even just as a race dignified by basic morals of fairness and electoral honesty, they would need to learn from its recent electoral history.
As seen in the GMA-7’s “24 Oras” news video footage, an apparition or figure of sorts that looked , moved and dressed like FPJ seemed to have left or passed through the late actor’s image on the hanged tarpaulin poster hanging by the wall of his tomb. The incident was captured by the cellphone camera of a woman who visited Poe’s tomb. A computer video expert concluded that the footage was either genuine or made by a very technologically sophisticated hoaxer.
Why FPJ could warn us of Lakas-Kampi is obvious. The coalition party is, of course, the party of Arroyo–the machinery that has assured legislative conformity with her unpatriotic agenda and, perhaps more importantly, has primarily squashed all the impeachment attempts against her. Why FPJ would warn the Filipinos about the Liberal Party may not seem so obvious but it probably has all to do with how he got cheated in 2004.
The LP, along with Lakas-Kampi, is thought to be responsible for the congressional dimension of the 2004 presidential poll fraud and cover-up. Making an apparition capturable by a phone camera is possibly FPJ’s way of reminding of the electoral injustice done to him and the people. ‘Don’t vote Lakas-Kampi or LP come May 2010,’ could be the message of the ghost of the man cheated of presidential victory “Hello Garci” style.
Of course, one could claim that FPJ is playing partisan politics, and probably wants his followers to give him posthomous justice by voting for Chiz Escudero, the “batang trapo” (says the democratically uncivil “civil society) who took the cudgel of being his spokesperson during the 2004 presidential polls. Then again, Poe Jr. could be campaigning for his friend, former President Joseph Estrada who was, in the first place, responsible for convincing him to run against Arroyo in 2004. These two speculations, of course, are hinged on whether the apparition is genuine and/or whether spirits are real.
Liberal Party Record
Skeptics will definitely not buy the message-of-FPJ-ghost theory. One does not need to believe in apparitions to see that the Liberal Party does not really stand for genuine change, however. The party and its stalwarts ex-Sen. Jovito Salonga and now-presidential contender Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III have a recent history of disrespect for the Constitution and simply being tolerant, if not actually engaging in immoral or unethical politics.
In Oplan Excelsis/EDSA 2 Coup
First, these party big-names helped installed the Illegitimate, later surveyed to be the “Most Corrupt President in Philippine History.” During the height of the anti-Estrada movement back in 2000-2001, Salonga was, of course in the forefront of those wanting Erap to resign or be impeached. Noynoy Aquino was then a Congressman for Tarlac. As recounted by The Daily Tribune’s Ninez Cacho-Olivares, the only son of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and ex-President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, was among those who hailed the move of then-Speaker Manuel “Manny” Villar to transmit the impeachment complaint to the Senate-even without the benefit of plenary vote.
When things didn’t work out to their liking during the Senate impeachment hearings, the LP members joined those who walked out and amassed in EDSA 2 to oust Estrada. Of course, the 2001 coup was “legitimized” by the Davide court’s ruling that Joseph Estrada did “constructive resignation” even in the absence of a resignation letter or actual physical incapacity. Still, that novel , never-before-heard SC decision won’t take away the fact that it was a coup, the fruition of Plan B of the Oplan Excelsis revealed in October 2000 by The Daily Tribune, which was, in turn, predated by a series of Manila Standard articles on anti-Estrada destabilization efforts during the early part of the same year.
LP’s Role in 2004 Poll Cheating/Cover-up
Next, their disloyalty to the Constitution by way of the penchant for going against the people’s will was manifested anew during the 2004 elections. Not only did Salonga, et al. avidly campaign for Arroyo but worse, they took part in what the “Hello Garci” tapes would later reveal to be a fraudulent proclamation of the “President-elect.”
As described by Daily Tribune’s Demaree Raval, this was accomplished when “the leaders of the LP railroaded the national [congressional] canvass.” The LP was “in the thick of the cheating” as its leaders simply noted the objections while members of Fernando Poe’s camp “were crying themselves hoarse against the fraud” during the congressional canvassing. It should be recalled that LP Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan was the chairman of the Joint Congressional Canvassing Committee.
The opposition camp was trying to present evidence of electoral fraud before the committee but they were basically not allowed to. The lawyers, and congressional supporters of FPJ and running mate Loren Legarda were blocked from having select ballot boxes containing contested certificates of canvass or COCs opened. During the canvassing, Pangilinan earned the moniker of “Sen. Noted” because he struck down all objections and arguments to prove electoral fraud by his frequent utterances of the now-infamous word “Noted.”
Raval also writes that opposition solons and lawyers were prevented by LP members from even speaking or presenting “the election returns to prove the lie of the manufactured certificates of canvass.” He must be referring to the likes of Cong. Butch Abad, LP representative from Batanes, who silenced the voice of those who justly wanted Congress to look into the evidence of presidential poll fraud. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, then an LP congressman from Tarlac, might not have actively taken part in railroading the canvass but as journalist Ninez Cacho-Olivares notes, “kept his mouth shut even in the face of massive electoral cheating.”
For the flimsy excuse that it would take a long time to study the questioned COCs, the country was deprived of knowing who really won in the 2004 presidential polls. Subsequently, Liberal Party solons led by Senate President Franklin Drilon and Pangilinan, along with other congressional cheats, sealed the canvassing charade when they surreptitiously proclaimed Gloria as the “President-elect” during the wee hours of the June 24, 2004. A break-of-dawn congressional proclamation (earlier, actually: 3:38 am) was unprecedented but it succeeded in preempting any protest or opposition action that could have derailed Arroyo’s “proclamation.”
In the 2004 deprivation of the Filipinos’ right to clean and honest polls, the LP played a crucial role. Arroyo, and players like LP members, thought they got away with the great crime that the “Hello, Garci” expose would later unravel.
Telling “Hello Garci’ Tapes
The wiretapped evidence of 2004 electoral fraud (OK, alleged) was first exposed in mid-2005. Former National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Samuel Ong later would soon present the master tapes. The wiretapped records that have come to be known as the “Hello Garci” tapes primarily show the conversations between Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and elections commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano in connection with operations surrounding the May 11 elections and vote canvassing. The operations revealed by the tapes were designed to cheat Arroyo’s way towards her continued hold on power and rob FPJ of electoral victory.
The more telling of the tapes shows a woman believed to be Arroyo asking “Garci” to ensure for her a 1 million lead over FPJ. In another dated May 26, 2004, Arroyo informs Garci that she has “allies” in the Senate, which could allow them to delay “the senatorial canvassing until after the voting on the rules” that night.
Actually, even prior to May 2004, the LP seemed to have already taken the resolve to ensure the victory of Arroyo by hook or by crook. Raval writes on the role of the LP in trying to disqualify FPJ from the 2004 presidential elections:
“Even before the elections, the senators belonging to the LP prevented the report of the Angara Committee establishing the Manapat forgeries on the birth certificate of then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. and the marriage certificate of FPJ’s parents.”
Raval tags the LP members responsible for the 2004 proclamation of Arroyo as perhaps the country’s “worst politicians,” having gone “to bed with her, who prostituted themselves for political patronage, who enjoyed the power that went with being with the lying and the cheating and the stealing, then all too suddenly turned against Gloria” when the “Hello Garci” tapes were exposed.
What the Daily Tribune columnist is basically saying is the LP members who took part in the 2004 electoral fraud are immoral political chameleons who could change color as readily as they cried “Garci!” Obviously, why the LP leaders broke off with Gloria in 2005 was the opportunity to make the people falsely believe that they took no part in cheating FPJ in favor of Arroyo.
On July 8, 2005, practically as soon as the “Hello Garci” expose hugged the headlines, Cory called for a news conference where she asked Arroyo to resign. For a time, she continued her demand for the illegitimate’s resignation, with her son Noynoy joining in as a good chunk of LP members bolted out of the alliance with Gloria.
This makes one wonder, however, whether the reason why Salonga, et al joined in the “Hello Garci” condemnation was only to make it falsely appear to the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino that during the whole time that they went through the motions of canvassing and proclamation, they were totally unaware of Arroyo’s cheating? One could even ask whether the LP did it only so that Noynoy would not be chastised by his mother for doing nothing while FPJ was cheated in the canvassing? Either one of these or Cory herself was part of, or aware of, the 2004 poll fraud and cover-up–something rather unlikely.
As early as around April 2004, this column was already aware that poll fraud will be done to ensure Gloria Arroyo’s presidential victory. A person rather close to me, and within the vicinity of power no matter how low-key s/he may be, confided that “dadayain” the presidential elections. I remember him/her adding something like “I hope the country can weather the storm that is sure to come.”
Salonga and this person share a rather influential organization, one breeding ground of the influential (clue: University of the Philippines). If this resource person of mine was aware of the operation to doctor the 2004 presidential elections, so were Sen. Salonga and, it should logically follow, the rest of Liberal Party biggies.
My resource person did not actually name Salonga or the Liberal Party as parties to the poll fraud plan. Neither did I ask him/her who exactly were involved because I couldn’t accept his/her revelations to be true (s/he also vaguely talked of the advanced parties from Gloria’s camp as distributing goodies in areas where poll-related surveys were scheduled to be held). I guess I couldn’t believe that “good people” in the government would allow something as blatantly immoral as cheating to happen. Suffice it to say, however, that putting the two and two of “Hello Garci,” Sen. “Noted,” and my resource person’s political/organizational ties and revelations together, a not unclear role of the LP in the 2004 presidential poll fraud emerges.
FPJ Ghost or no FPJ Ghost
Whether or not the FPJ cemetery ghost story is real, the Filipino people need to be wary of the Liberal Party of today, nay, punish the party by not voting their bets. By the way, Kris Aquino reportedly is being visited by the spirit of her mom. The late Cory Aquino, it should be recalled, apologized to former President Estrada for part in the “2001 uprising.” Noynoy apparently tried to save face for the Liberal Party by claiming that the apology was a joke but the only compromise he was ultimately able to wrangle from his mom was the statement that it was indeed “said in jest but she’s not taking it back.”
It seems fairly obvious to anyone sober enough not to be taken by the lies of EDSA 2 that Noynoy Aquino’s association with LP make him a ‘bad trapo’? Is it possible that Cory’s ghost is telling the same message–Noynoy be wary of, rather, get out from, the seemingly politically prostituted party that is LP!?
One of my parents was an avid LP supporter. I don’t exactly feel good because I never thought I’ll be writing something like this about the party to which Diosdado Macapagal and Ninoy Aquino belonged. Change for the moral good, genuine good change, is what our country needs, however. Besides, isn’t the need to ensure “clean and honest elections” one of the chief lessons the Philippines is supposed to have learned from the Marcos experience (when even the bird, bees and the dead supposedly voted in 1969, ultimately allowing Apo Ferdie’s 1972 declaration of Martial Law)?
I’m tired of Mafia in LP, says Serge ñOsmea
By Jhunnex Napallacan, Leila Salaverria, Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:48:00 11/20/2009
MANILA, Philippines — Crying double-cross, former Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III said on Thursday he is abandoning his quest for a Senate seat under the Liberal Party (LP) in the upcoming elections and is running as an independent in protest over the inclusion of former Socioeconomic Secretary Ralph Recto in its senatorial lineup.
“That is almost final,” Osmeña said in an interview Thursday night, denouncing a “Mafia” in the party of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and disappointment at “infighting” in its ranks.
Osmeña explained that he did not want Recto in the LP lineup, calling him “pro-GMA” for doing nothing to expose shenanigans in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration as head of the National Economic and Development Authority.
He said he had told LP officials he would no longer be a part of the party with Recto in it.
Recto and his wife, Vilma Santos, a multi-awarded movie actress and Batangas governor, defected from the administration coalition earlier this week to join the LP. He had sought reelection as a senator in the 2007 balloting with the administration coalition but lost.
Osmeña said he told LP general campaign manager Florencio Abad twice and his assistant, Rapa Lopa, once about his position on Recto.
The former senator said he felt he had been double-crossed when party officials met on Sunday to finalize the acceptance of Recto without even informing him.
“They kept me in the dark,” he said.
Osmeña also said that he believed the LP wanted to get the Batangas governor to boost the party and was forced to accept Recto as a condition.
He said he would discuss the issue with Aquino one more time, possibly Friday night.
Asked if there was a possibility he would change his mind, he said he was through (Ayaw ko na). “It would be difficult.”
Fed up with fighting
Osmeña said that there were people around Aquino that he did not trust.
“I’m fed up with the inside fighting, with the Mafia in the Liberal Party,” he said.
Asked to name names, Osmeña laughed. But he clarified that he still believed Aquino was the best presidential candidate based on his track record, his good values and his being an honest person.
However, he said he would no longer carry Aquino or Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II in his campaign as an independent although he would include senatorial candidates that he described as good officials in LP’s senatorial slate, such as Teofisto Guingona III and Raffy Biazon.
Asked why he would not carry Aquino in the campaign although his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, helped him when he ran for senator before, Osmeña said he had done enough for him.
“We have helped him a lot. And I will not say any negative words against Noynoy,” Osmeña said.
He also said he would remain a member of the PDP-Laban although he would run as an independent. Osmeña, however, said he might join Sen. Francis Escudero if he pursues his plan of running for vice president.
A known maverick when he was in the Senate, Osmeña disclosed that he had received offers from the camp of Sen. Manuel Villar and former President Joseph Estrada to run under their respective parties but he refused their offers on Wednesday.
“I turned down Erap and Villar already. I want a higher standard of public service. I don’t want to have extra baggage when I run and win because my loyalty is to the Filipino people,” Osmeña said.
LP spokesperson Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III said the party had yet to strike
Osmeña’s name from its list of senatorial aspirants (nine so far).
Tañada also said that Aquino was still talking to Osmeña: “Well, there are still efforts from Senator Noynoy; talks are still continuing to ask him to remain. But just the same, we are also not filling his slot. We won’t change him for another candidate.”
In a statement, Recto said he was “surprised” to hear that Osmeña “is planning to leave the LP just because I joined the movement of Noynoy and Mar [Roxas] for clean politics.”
Recto said he and his wife did not apply but were “invited” by the LP to back the Aquino-Roxas tandem.
“My service in government is of public record. It is one unstained by any charge of corruption or wrongdoing,” he said, apparently responding to Osmeña’s assertion he could not accept a former Palace ally in the LP.
“I have always been known to speak my mind, be it on the floor of the House, the committee rooms of the Senate, or inside Malacañang,” Recto said, adding:
“I have never allowed my party affiliation to get in the way of my principles.”
Recto also said he had opposed the Arroyo administration’s unpopular policies.
He said even Osmeña, as a senator, supported the passage of the value-added tax (VAT) that he had sponsored.
While the LP is bent on holding on to Osmeña, the chance is “remote” that representatives of militant party-list groups will seek seats in the Senate under its banner.
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, who, along with Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, is running for senator in May 2010, said a dinner meeting on Wednesday with a “relaxed” Aquino did not result in anything clear.
“At the minimum, [we talked about] what in his platform we could work together on. But he was silent about whether we would be included among those [the LP] would consider [as senatorial candidates]. There was nothing categorical like that,” Ocampo told reporters at the Serye forum in Quezon City.
He also aired the perception that there were many groups surrounding Aquino, with each one having a say on who would be included in the LP senatorial slate.
Also present at the dinner meeting that took place in a restaurant on Pasay Road in Makati were Erin Tañada, LP campaign manager Abad, LP secretary general Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya and Nathanael Santiago of the Makabayan coalition, which will carry Ocampo and Maza as its senatorial candidates.
Falling in line
Ocampo said he and Maza were told that the applicants for the remaining slots in the LP slate were numerous.
“They said those falling in line were more than twice the number of slots, and that there were special groups lobbying to be accommodated,” he said.
So far, the names on the LP senatorial slate are Osmeña, former senator Franklin Drilon, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, Muntinlupa Rep. Rossano Biazon, Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, former Bukidnon Rep. Nereus Acosta, Sonia Roco and Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros.
Options, not feelings
Ocampo said that during the dinner, Aquino mostly focused his remarks on his family’s efforts to find a way to solve the problems at Hacienda Luisita.
He said Aquino did not express any ill feelings about the issues involving Luisita, and “discussed options, not how bad he felt.”
The vast sugar estate in Tarlac province is in the middle of a bitter agrarian reform dispute.
Ocampo said Aquino had promised to continue studying the issues and to look after the farmers’ interest even if his family would let go of Luisita.